The Birth of Google at Wired, spotted via Google Blogoscoped, has John Battelle recounting how Google came to be. Larry Page and Sergey Brin found each other obnoxious at first. Page was fascinated by the math the web represented and how who was linking to whom might be useful. That led to the precursor of Google, Backrub. Brin joined up and together the rank calculation system dubbed PageRank (the Page coming from Larry's last name) was born. Fast, easy read and tantalizing glimpse of John's The Search book due out in September, from which its excerpted.Postscript (from Gary): Many of the underlying concepts that Brin and Page used to formulate PageRank (aka link analysis) have been around for prior to when Sergey met Larry. This blog post takes a look at Dr. Eugene Garfield, the father of "citation analysis" which has been used be academics and librarians since the 1950's. Also, not to be forgotten is the pioneering work of Dr. Jon Kleinberg and the IBM Clever team. Take a look at this paper by Kleinberg and the Clever team. The "Web Analysis and Search: Hubs and Authorities" section of Dr. Kleinberg's home page yields even more interesting reading. One paper, "Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment" is even cited by Brin/Page in their "Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine" paper. Battelle interviews Kleinberg here.
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